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Influence of the female audience on the program structure of early cinema and the changes of the modes of reception (1906-1918)

  • In my paper I will talk about the mutual influences between the female spectators and the programming practices of Imperial Germany- cinema. I will focus on the period of the transition from the short film programme of the "cinema of attractions" to the dominance of the long feature film, i.e. from 1906-1918. I will ask questions how the presence of women in the cinema (the place where they first entered the public sphere) influenced the practice of programming. So I will deal with the relatively new topic of the programme (and its structural changes) as a mode of exhibition and I will try to connect this to the role the female audience played in shaping this format: how does the female audience affect the changes of the programme patterns, the modification of genres and their meaning within the structure of the programme and does it finally bring about a change in the mode of reception. And on the other hand how does the cinematographical programme represent and influence the female identity, and women- wishes and needs. One must ask for the reasons why the early cinema, that was characterised by diversity concerning class, gender and cultural issues and that built a kind of alternative public sphere, was displaced by an institutionalised, state monitored and nationalised German cinema. Taking into account that this change of film forms was not a teleological evolution, "gender" might be a more useful and insightful category than "class" is to explain the changes of the programme and the essence of early cinema. First I am going to present the main ideas of my project, then I"ll talk about the composition of the audience and the relation between audience and program, after that I"ll make some remarks on the reform movement and what the reformers thought about women in the cinema and about the programming practices, and as a last part, we"ll have a look at what actually happened in the cinema and at the program of the year 1911/1912 and how this program catered to the interests of the female audience. I"ll conclude with a short outlook on the changes that occurred during WW I.

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Author:Andrea Haller
Document Type:Conference Proceedings
Date of completion:2006/03/23
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Release Date:2006/03/23
Tag:Kaiserreich; Kinoprogramm; Stummfilm; frühes Kino; weibliches Kinopublikum
Imperial Germany; audience studies; early cinema; female cinema audience; programming strategies; silent film
GND Keyword:Deutschland / Geschichte 1871-1918; Film; Filmprogramm; Filmtheater / Publikum; Weibliches Publikum
Institutes:Fachbereich 2 / Medienwissenschaft
Dewey Decimal Classification:7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 79 Sport, Spiele, Unterhaltung / 791 Öffentliche Darbietungen, Film, Rundfunk

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